Heart health begins at home

World Heart Day, being observed this year on September 29, is based upon the theme of One World, One Home, One Heart.

On this occasion, Dr. Dillip Kumar Mishra, Senior Consultant Cardiovascular Surgeon, Apollo Hospitals, talks to Lakshmi Krishnamoorthy on how heart disease is emerging as one of the top killer diseases in India and about ways to prevent it.

What is your opinion of this year’s World Heart Day theme?

First of all, I would like to congratulate the person who coined the term One World, One Home, One Heart. Prevention of heart disease should start from home. The 2 essential elements of preventing the disease – right food and an active lifestyle – should be practised at home.

Would you say CAD (Coronary Artery Disease) cases in India have gone up over the last decade and if yes, why?

It is a fact, and a lot of literature has proven, that heart disease is on the rise in India. Not only that, even the Indian population migrating to western countries suffers more than the local population. There are 2 reasons for this:

Unhealthy diet: The food habits of Indian have changed considerably. More and more fatty foods (fried and otherwise) are being consumed.
Inactive lifestyle: Indians have become more sedentary considering the large, young Indian population in the IT industry, which spends a great deal of time, seated at the computer.

These 2 factors contribute to an increase in incidence of CAD in India.

Apart from this, anatomically speaking, the coronary arteries of the Indian population are of lesser diameter compared to that of westerners. Hence, they are prone to blocks earlier.

What are the lifestyle changes that need to be made to prevent heart disease?

Opt for low fat, non-fried foods that are also bland and low in salt. Brisk walking for 30 minutes per day for at least 3 or 4 days a week is a must.
The younger generation should stay away from junk food and lead an active lifestyle.

We often hear that heart health care begins at home. Can you substantiate?

It is the joint responsibility of each member of the family to see that healthy food is served. Parents should follow rules – eat healthy and be active – so that children grow up in a healthy environment. Reverse teaching is also applicable here – there are instances when the child learns from his teachers or peers about heart healthy habits and passes it on to his parents.

Image: AFP

Also read:

7 ways to heart health

Foods that are good for your heart

Signs and symptoms of a heart attack

Preventing heart disease in diabetics